Ron calls the unprecedented collective power of the peer group and pop culture “the second family”— a force so pervasive it often overwhelms the first family of adults at home and in school. Derived from thousands of conversations with kids and adults, this book uses real-life examples to shatter the myths: Peer pressure, as we once thought of it, is dead. Kids don’t make each other do things just to conform; they live and let live. They don’t necessarily stop talking to parents. Rather, parents don’t know how to listen. As a result, many teens help each other through everyday dilemmas and problems. However, kids still need parents who can help with their complicated lives. Beyond laying out the problems and challenges, this book also illuminates the positive aspects of the second family: a secret moral code of peer support, boys and girls as best friends (without benefits), boys emotionally care-taking those in need, girls as powerful group leaders. The concrete strategies in The Second Family will help you strike a balance between empathy and expectations and, most important, prevent your growing child from entirely slipping away.
- “Packed with gripping stories…Taffel holds out hope to struggling parents that it is possible to reign in out-of-control teens.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
- “This is a probing look into the often misunderstood phenomenon of teen culture, coupled with good answers for uninvolved, oh-let-them-have-what-they-want parents. Highly recommended for social science as well as child-rearing collections.”
– Library Journal
- “Though sometimes distressing, this is a valuable resource for parents.”